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Who Killed The Electric Car?

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I post this on the main forum because oil prices are often touted as a potential crash trigger. With oil prices such a supposed headache for the world's polciy makers, reducing reliance on the black stuff would be the number one goal. You'd think.

(Personally, I don't buy the oil price thing much anyway - the economic cycle is simply the act of pumping up the money supply until the seams burst and then the excess money finally is wrung out and Joe Bloggs gets mugged while the rich hoover up assets on the cheap. Nothing more.)

Rergardless, I found out about a new documentary film while searching for biofuel info on the net. I remember a few months back while watching a TV program where there was an guy driving one of those clunky Noddy electric cars that conk out on the way and thought, 'I'm sure when I was a teenager there were some pretty good electric cars knocking about at shows and in magazines, n'stuff'.

Well, this film argues, electric cars weren't simply unpopular with consumers - as the car industry stated - but were actively killed off in an agressive campaign of lobbying and actually crushing cars when their leases expired against the wishes of the drivers that enjoyed them.

Should be a goodie...

In 1996, electric cars began to appear on roads all over California. They were quiet and fast, produced no exhaust and ran without gasoline. Ten years later, these cars were destroyed.

It was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert?

"Who Killed the Electric Car?" chronicles the life and mysterious death of the GM EV1, examining its cultural and economic ripple effects and how they reverberated through the halls of government and big business.

The year is 1990. California is in a pollution crisis. Smog threatens public health. Desperate for a solution, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) targets the source of its problem: auto exhaust. Inspired by a recent announcement from General Motors about an electric vehicle prototype, the Zero Emissions Mandate (ZEV) is born. It required 2% of new vehicles sold in California to be emission-free by 1998, 10% by 2003. It is the most radical smog-fighting mandate since the catalytic converter.

With a jump on the competition thanks to its speed-record-breaking electric concept car, GM launches its EV1 electric vehicle in 1996. It was a revolutionary modern car, requiring no gas, no oil changes, no mufflers, and rare brake maintenance (a billion-dollar industry unto itself). A typical maintenance checkup for the EV1 consisted of replenishing the windshield washer fluid and a tire rotation.

But the fanfare surrounding the EV1's launch disappeared and the cars followed. Was it lack of consumer demand as carmakers claimed, or were other persuasive forces at work?

Fast forward to 6 years later... The fleet is gone. EV charging stations dot the California landscape like tombstones, collecting dust and spider webs. How could this happen? Did anyone bother to examine the evidence? Yes, in fact, someone did. And it was murder.

The electric car threatened the status quo. The truth behind its demise resembles the climactic outcome of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express: multiple suspects, each taking their turn with the knife. "Who Killed the Electric Car?" interviews and investigates automakers, legislators, engineers, consumers and car enthusiasts from Los Angeles to Detroit, to work through motives and alibis, and to piece the complex puzzle together.

"Who Killed the Electric Car?" is not just about the EV1. It's about how this allegory for failure-reflected in today's oil prices and air quality-can also be a shining symbol of society's potential to better itself and the world around it. While there's plenty of outrage for lost time, there's also time for renewal as technology is reborn in "Who Killed the Electric Car?"

http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/

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A combination of price and performance of batteries is still the limit on electric cars. The performance has improved dramatically in recent years but they cost a fortune (same as with laptop batteries). Its not helped by the price of expensive metals needed to make them eg, Pt, Pd and Ni.

Surveys are one thing actually parting with money to save the environment is another :rolleyes:

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Yes, there's no magic bullet but there are plnety of good technologies around, many of which are mature right now.

The film isn't about some theoretical car that was scrapped on the drawing board but one that thousands of people actually paid to drive, found to be cheap to run, and liked!

Read up on the facts behind the film and check the differences between facts and big oil PR spin. Of course we're suppose to believe non-oil cars are milkfloats, a joke, or that biofuels rob grain from the mouths of third world kids.

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Guest Bart of Darkness

Who Killed The Electric Car?

The Ancient Order of Stonecutters.

81633_500.jpg

Who controls the British crown?

Who keeps the metric system down?

We do! We do!

Who leaves Atlantis off the maps?

Who keeps the martians under wraps?

We do! We do!

Who holds back the electric car?

Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?

We do! We do!

Who robs the cave fish of their sight?

Who rigs every Oscars night?

We do! We do!

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Competely ignoring the question of where the electricity comes form in the first place, Why do these cars have to LOOK like electric cars? You know, a bit gay.

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Who Killed The Electric Car?

The Ancient Order of Stonecutters.

81633_500.jpg

Who controls the British crown?

Who keeps the metric system down?

We do! We do!

Who leaves Atlantis off the maps?

Who keeps the martians under wraps?

We do! We do!

Who holds back the electric car?

Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?

We do! We do!

Who robs the cave fish of their sight?

Who rigs every Oscars night?

We do! We do!

Nice one Bart...excellent episode isn't it in the dark secrets of the Simpsons dvd?

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Forgot to say earlier that extracting the heavy metals for batteries involves lots of nasty chemicals. Also each time you convert energy you lose some so the most efficient way is to burn oil directly in a car rather than burn oil in a power station (with loses) convert to electricity (loses) then store in battery (loses) and finally convert to motion (more loses). You create more pollution with an electric car its just at the power station. NIMBY in the extreme !!!

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Forgot to say earlier that extracting the heavy metals for batteries involves lots of nasty chemicals. Also each time you convert energy you lose some so the most efficient way is to burn oil directly in a car rather than burn oil in a power station (with loses) convert to electricity (loses) then store in battery (loses) and finally convert to motion (more loses). You create more pollution with an electric car its just at the power station. NIMBY in the extreme !!!

In the US, though, over 70% of oil is used to fuel vehicles, almost none in power stations, and comparitively little in plastics and other industrial uses. Electricity can be made from renewable sources.

Of course, non-oil cars are not a magic bullet - the urban sprawl, the lack of cheap public transport, sitting in jams, the need for more roads to keep meeting demand would continue to be a problem even with low-pollution vehicles.

See the movie - big oil/big auto didn't say, 'Hey, y'know the batteries for these things are a bit hard to manufacture' they said, 'Uh oh, status quo in jeopardy - snuff this out fast.'

Even when a third party wanted to buy the cars from GM to keep them running, absolving them of all warranty responsibilities, they still wanted to crush them! The sheer determination in wiping these cars off the face of the earth was incredible.

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Guest Bart of Darkness

Nice one Bart...excellent episode isn't it in the dark secrets of the Simpsons dvd?

Not sure about the individual DVDS but you can find it here in the season 6 box set.

Top episode.

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Looks an interesting movie but im not in the US so maybe have to have a look at a few torrent sites. I have a friend who works with fractal surfaces (bit of a science geek) which are used in batteries to store charge. Im not sure that GM could squish all the university research especially as lots is funded by big companies like Sony who want to make more powerful portable devices but like you said there are other ways for example fuel cells.

BTW - Sweden is trying to become independant of oil by 2020. Lots of towns already have biogas busses but it doesnt come cheep.... worlds highest taxes.

Edited by DONT PANIC !!! DONT PANIC !!!

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Electric cars are a waste of time. Did GM kill them off in a oil-driven conspiracy? Or is it a new version of the urban myth that GM deliberately bought up and then destroyed the LA tram network?

There are better alternatives to electric cars:

The Indy 500 cars are run off alcohol - a bit like me.

Alcohol is organic, renewable and efficient. And is what we will be using when the oil runs out

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Electric cars are a waste of time. Did GM kill them off in a oil-driven conspiracy? Or is it a new version of the urban myth that GM deliberately bought up and then destroyed the LA tram network?

There are better alternatives to electric cars:

The Indy 500 cars are run off alcohol - a bit like me.

Alcohol is organic, renewable and efficient. And is what we will be using when the oil runs out

Simply being renewable doesn't guarantee adequate supply. Where would we possibly get enough biomass from to use alcohol as a replacement for petrol? Given that the energy to feed a human is equivalent to only 2 litres of petrol per WEEK, we're talking about a truly massive expansion of agriculture which already uses plenty of oil itself.

Electric cars, or anything else using batteries or other energy storage (eg heat), has the major advantage of being able to be used for load levelling thus facilitating the practical use of wind etc energy at relatively high levels. Simply adding such loads to the power system is, with the use of ripple control, a major bonus for intermittent renewable electricity sources. So an electric car can quite easily be powered by wind even though wind is not a particularly good replacement for most other uses of electricity.

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Guest Bart of Darkness

The real future of urban transport as the oil runs out:

electric_rickshaw_pedicab.jpg

Link.

And when oil finally becomes too rare/expensive there's always:

walking01.jpg

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Guest Alright Jack

"Who killed the electric car?"

I can answer that pretty simply.

No one. It was never alive. It was the ravings of some dork hippy with more money than he knew what to do with.

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That Tesla car looks promising- wonder if it will ever come to anything?

I was a bit concerned that it was an American car ie. made of concrete and plastic. Then I saw its actually a Lotus. So thats OK then.

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Guest Alright Jack

That Tesla car looks promising- wonder if it will ever come to anything?

I was a bit concerned that it was an American car ie. made of concrete and plastic. Then I saw its actually a Lotus. So thats OK then.

I don't know. But to be honest I find all these 'exciting new alternatives' to oil really soul destroying and depressing in the sense that it underlines the continuing reluctance to either accept or understand the basic premise behind our problems and that is that the primary energy source is depleting. The government are doing NOTHING to help in this regard. Worse, they are using fcukwitted green policies that they never gave a cr@p about before to further obfuscate the underlying issues. AS USUAL!

The constant inability to realise that all these so called alternatives are nothing more than alternative energy carriers and not actually alternative energy sources is just plain tiresome.

I have never voted and probably never will. Democracy is dead now, it is just a show game and means nothing anymore.

Would you agree?

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I don't know. But to be honest I find all these 'exciting new alternatives' to oil really soul destroying and depressing in the sense that it underlines the continuing reluctance to either accept or understand the basic premise behind our problems and that is that the primary energy source is depleting. The government are doing NOTHING to help in this regard. Worse, they are using fcukwitted green policies that they never gave a cr@p about before to further obfuscate the underlying issues. AS USUAL!

The constant inability to realise that all these so called alternatives are nothing more than alternative energy carriers and not actually alternative energy sources is just plain tiresome.

I have never voted and probably never will. Democracy is dead now, it is just a show game and means nothing anymore.

Would you agree?

I'd agree that there is a reluctance on the part of some to accept that its no longer acceptable to rely on oil imports.

I'd also agree that hydrogen or electric cars arent the solution as batteries and hydrogen are just an energy storage medium and not an energy source in themselves.

However, there is still plenty of oil around. The problem is that we dont have the capacity to pump or refine it. Further exploration contunes to turn up more and more oil reserves.

TrendLinesOilDepletionScenarios41211.png

Note here that oil reserves have been increasing since the 1950s. According to the doomsayers of the 1970s, we should have run out of oil completely many years ago, yet we have more than ever.

Also as oil becomes more expensive, it becomes economic to utitlise previously uneconomic sources such as shale oils.

We are NOT at peak oil. We just cant process it fast enough at the moment.

As to not voting, well, if you dont vote then dont bitch when some undesirable ***** gets elected.

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Guest Alright Jack

I'd agree that there is a reluctance on the part of some to accept that its no longer acceptable to rely on oil imports.

I'd also agree that hydrogen or electric cars arent the solution as batteries and hydrogen are just an energy storage medium and not an energy source in themselves.

However, there is still plenty of oil around. The problem is that we dont have the capacity to pump or refine it. Further exploration contunes to turn up more and more oil reserves.

TrendLinesOilDepletionScenarios41211.png

Note here that oil reserves have been increasing since the 1950s. According to the doomsayers of the 1970s, we should have run out of oil completely many years ago, yet we have more than ever.

Also as oil becomes more expensive, it becomes economic to utitlise previously uneconomic sources such as shale oils.

We are NOT at peak oil. We just cant process it fast enough at the moment.

As to not voting, well, if you dont vote then dont bitch when some undesirable ***** gets elected.

I'm afrad that we have rolled over peak oil already according to Matt Simmons.

Look, who voted for starting all these wars? No one did, nor would they. Democracy is dead. It makes no difference what you vote for.

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NONE of the lines on that chart show supply meeting demand in 2020 which many put at around 120mmbpd. At best, supply grows too slowly. At worst, it declines. Either way there isn't enough oil on the market to meet the expected demand. End result - higher prices. Just how high is the question.

I see it as significant that BP doesn't see supply exceeding 90mmbpd whilst they are well known for publishing without question the never-changing reserve claims of the OPEC nations. Many of the claims of unlimited supply are based on this data. BP's forecast runs contrary to their publication of "official" reserve data and would thus seem to be based on internal data not released to the public. It shows an entirely different picture, one that is far more alarming.

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Guest Alright Jack

NONE of the lines on that chart show supply meeting demand in 2020 which many put at around 120mmbpd. At best, supply grows too slowly. At worst, it declines. Either way there isn't enough oil on the market to meet the expected demand. End result - higher prices. Just how high is the question.

I see it as significant that BP doesn't see supply exceeding 90mmbpd whilst they are well known for publishing without question the never-changing reserve claims of the OPEC nations. Many of the claims of unlimited supply are based on this data. BP's forecast runs contrary to their publication of "official" reserve data and would thus seem to be based on internal data not released to the public. It shows an entirely different picture, one that is far more alarming.

Even a shortfall of a few percent would likely quadrouple spot oil price.

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As to not voting, well, if you dont vote then dont bitch when some undesirable ***** gets elected.

Yeah, right. I could have voted Tory and the Tory would have won, I could have voted NuLab and the Tory would have won, I could have voted for the Monster Raving Loonies (are they still around?) and the Tory would have won. Get real: the government of this country is determined by a tiny fraction of people in closely-contested constituencies, which is why Blair won with only 22% of the votes.

And that is why this country is run by ******wits who piss around bombing third-rate nations while housing costs explode and the oil is running out. They'll do anything to avoid making difficult decisions.

Edited by MarkG

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Competely ignoring the question of where the electricity comes form in the first place, Why do these cars have to LOOK like electric cars? You know, a bit gay.

I did my degree at Plymouth University. My project supervisor was obsessed by electric cars. We worked with Peugot to build an electric 305. It looked exactly like a Peugot 305 to the outsider but it used a variable speed drive instead of an engine. There was no gear system. You didn't need one. I think it had a top speed of 70mph. The ironic thing was that the heater was driven by petrol!!!

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I'd agree that there is a reluctance on the part of some to accept that its no longer acceptable to rely on oil imports.

I'd also agree that hydrogen or electric cars arent the solution as batteries and hydrogen are just an energy storage medium and not an energy source in themselves.

However, there is still plenty of oil around. The problem is that we dont have the capacity to pump or refine it. Further exploration contunes to turn up more and more oil reserves.

Note here that oil reserves have been increasing since the 1950s. According to the doomsayers of the 1970s, we should have run out of oil completely many years ago, yet we have more than ever.

Also as oil becomes more expensive, it becomes economic to utitlise previously uneconomic sources such as shale oils.

We are NOT at peak oil. We just can't process it fast enough at the moment.

There is a big difference between 'reserves' and 'production'. URR (ultimately recoverable reserves) have indeed increased since the 1970's but we need to keep in mind the sudden 'reserve hikes' of the 1980's by OPEC states amounting to over 300 Gbbls:

opec_reserve_growth.gif

The oil consuming world will find out quite shortly just how real these increases in stated reserves are; based on reports from Kuwait there may well be significant cause for concern.

Outside of OPEC a large part of the reserve additions is in the form of unconventional oil - the tar sands of Canada and extra heavy oil from Venezuala, oil shale etc. Extracting synthetic crude from tar sands and shale cannot be compared to conventional oil where one simply had to drill wells and natural reservoir pressure delivered high flowrates; such sources are really mining operations. Not only are they extremely expensive compared to conventional oil but require copious amounts of water and energy for the extraction process (both of which are in limited supply in Fort McMurray for example). Furthermore the operation has serious environmental impacts not least due to CO2 emissions being much higher than for conventional oilfield operations. A large proportion of the oil sands and shale is also unrecoverable using current technology as the process becomes a net energy looser once the easy deposits have been mined i.e. it takes more energy to extract synthetic crude than is contained therein. These difficult charactaristics of unconventional oil account for production from Canadian tar sand only achieving the current 1m bopd after over 40 years of operation with future projections of between 3m and 5m bopd by 2025. Such output barely will barely compensate for ongoing production declines in N Sea and N America let alone offset declines elsewhere or accommodate projected world demand growth. In short unconventional oil will slow the decline somewhat but do little to affect timing of the global peak.

The way we need to look at the situation is to remember that it's not how large the deposits are which counts but the rate at which (given geological and scientific limits) the earth will give up such deposits and allow oil to flow, be refined and marketed which really matters. As we approach / pass the peak production will inevitably become more difficult and expensive as much of the 'easy oil' will have been used - in extraction industries 'no one saves the best for last'. Not least following 2 decades of volatile / low prices the oil industry has downsized in a major way and there are now widespread reports of shortages of quality drilling rigs, skilled personnel etc (average age of key workers was recently 49). All of these restrictions will manifest themselves as constraining future demand growth...and they are not quickly addressed simply by inputting more money.

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In short unconventional oil will slow the decline somewhat but do little to affect timing of the global peak.

I've also read claims that the energy consumed in the extraction of oil from Albertan oil shales is one of the biggest reasons for the rise in natural gas prices in Canada: something that affects everyone in the country when temperatures are way below zero for much of the year. Given a choice between being able to heat their houses and being able to produce high-cost oil, I can't wonder if Canadians will choose the former.

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  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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